An American tourist and British teacher have been identified as two of the civilian victims in the London terror attack Wednesday that left five people dead, including the assailant, and at least 40 others injured.
Kurt Cochran, 54, of Bountiful, Utah, was killed after the attacker mowed down pedestrians in a car on Westminster Bridge. His wife Melissa, 46, was hospitalized with several injuries. Teacher Aysha Frade, 43, was also killed on the bridge. The assailant killed Police Constable Keith Palmer, 48, outside the United Kingdom’s Houses of Parliament, which are nearby.
A fourth victim, Leslie Rhodes, died Thursday evening at the hospital after being taken off life support, police said. Rhodes, 75, was from the Streatham area of south London.
The attacker, identified as British-born Khalid Masood, was shot to death by another officer as he attempted to enter the Parliament building. Police said Friday that his birth name was Adrian Russell Ajao.
The Cochrans were the first two people to be hit by the vehicle. Kurt Cochran reportedly jumped or was pushed from the bridge and onto the steps below. He died from his injuries.
The Cochrans were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and were scheduled to return to the U.S. on Thursday, the family said in a statement.
“Our family is heartbroken to learn of the death of our son-in-law, Kurt W. Cochran, who was a victim of Wednesday’s terrorist attack in London,” the statement reads. “Kurt was a good man and a loving husband to our daughter and sister, Melissa.”
About two dozen people injured in the attack were still receiving treatment Thursday. Three police officers returning from a commendation ceremony and three French children on a school trip were among the injured victims.
Melissa Cochran was hospitalized with several injuries, family member Shantell Payne wrote on Facebook, but she is expected to recover.
“This pain is so heart wrenching and raw it has rocked our family and all that knew him to its core,” Payne wrote. “We will miss Kurt beyond words.”
Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, confirmed to The Huffington Post that Melissa Cochran’s parents are serving as temple missionaries in London.
President Donald Trump responded to the news of Cochran’s death on Twitter.
Frade, who was married and taught Spanish at the nearby DLD College London, was reportedly on her way to pick up her two children when the car struck her.
DLD College London principal Rachel Borland said that the school was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the news of Frade’s death.
“She was highly regarded and loved by our students and by her colleagues,” Borland said in a statement, according to the Telegraph. “She will be deeply missed by all of us.”
Frade was born in Britain but frequently spent time in her mother’s birthplace of Betanzos, Spain, where her sisters ran an English-language school.
Palmer, who was unarmed when he was stabbed to death while on duty patrolling Parliament, was a 15-year police veteran. He was married, with a 5-year-old daughter.
Member of Parliament James Cleverly fought back tears in Parliament on Thursday as he paid tribute to Palmer, whom he had known for more than 20 years.
“He was a strong, professional public servant and it was a delight to meet him here again only a few months after being elected,” the Conservative Party MP said.
A national moment of silence for the victims was held at 9:33 a.m., in honor of Palmer’s shoulder number, 933.
“Today is an incredibly sad and somber day, especially for the Metropolitan police service,” Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, said Wednesday night. “It is only right that I finish by mentioning the pride I feel in the swift and brave response from our officers, especially from those who ― without fear for their own safety ― confronted the terrorist.”
British police have arrested ten people in overnight raids Wednesday and Thursday as part of their investigation. One person was released on bail.
Prime Minster Theresa May said early Thursday that the suspect had previously been investigated for extremist views. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, but the extent of its involvement remains unclear. Authorities believe the assailant acted alone.
Friends and family shared an outpouring of grief on Thursday, while others offered their condolences and messages of solidarity. Hundreds gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square for a vigil to mourn the victims.
Tributes and donations poured in for Palmer throughout the day.
“He was every inch a hero and his actions will never be forgotten,” May said in her address to Parliament.
In a statement, Palmer’s family asked to be left to grieve in peace and said he would be remembered as “a wonderful dad and husband. A loving son, brother and uncle.” They described him as “brave and courageous” and “a friend to everyone who knew him.”
One of his co-workers, Police Constable James Aitkenhead, praised Palmer’s work ethic and positivity.
“When I heard what had happened I knew it would be him because that’s just the sort of guy he was, to step straight in when others might step back,” Aitkenhead said in a statement.
A crowdfunding page set up by the Metropolitan Police Federation has raise more than $340,000 for his family.
A GoFundMe page created by Melissa Cochran’s brother had raised more than $20,000 by Thursday afternoon. The couple is self-employed and owns a recording studio, according to the page.
Nate Kizerian, 42, told HuffPost he has been friends with Kurt Cochran for more than a decade and connected with the couple over their shared love of music.
“He really did a lot for other people, especially musicians,” Kizerian said. “He not only lived his dream, but he helped other people live theirs.”
“Sometimes is takes a thing like death to step back and really appreciate someone else’s life,” he added. “This is such a loss for everyone around here.”
Frade’s death was memorialized in the Spanish town of Betanzos, where residents gathered for a moment of silence and officials declared three days of mourning.
“The whole town is shocked,” Betanzos Mayor Ramon Garcia Vazquez told The Associated Press.
Amy Winter, Frade’s neighbor and a friend of the family, told The New York Times that Frade “always cheered people up.”
“When I think of Aysha, I think of her radiant smile,” Winter said. “It crushes me to know that she was going to pick up her girls when she was killed. They were everything to her.”
This article has been updated with more details, including the identification of the suspect and information on another victim.
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